The Air Combat Element, known as the ACE, plays an integral role in the Marine Air Ground Task Force, as it conducts offensive, defensive and all other air operations to support the Marine Air Ground Task Force mission. Marine aviation provides the Marines of the MAGTF the operational flexibility it needs to accomplish their mission.
During Integrated Training Exercise 3-18, Marines with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, were able to help provide a variety of military operations such as collecting intelligence, sustaining combat power, providing force protection and much more.
“The purpose of our flight line is to support the infantry Marines on the ground,” said Capt. Matthew Mignoni, pilot, HMLA-367. “We will receive a mission from them, whether it be an assault support request or to provide them with close air support.”
Once the information is initially brought in, the unit’s planning takes place, briefing not only the pilots, but also the Marines who will be assisting in any facet.
After the unit receives the information, the maintainers are briefed and get the aircrafts ready for the mission, where the pilots and their crews take to the sky providing the support necessary.
With the Combat Center’s training area spanning more than 1,000 miles, the ACE is able to employ more than the unit’s visiting are used to.
“The big difference between training here and in Hawaii, is the array of ordinance that we can deploy here,” Mignoni said. “It is important for us, with our primary focus being close air support, because it gives the pilots and their crews the chance to integrate with ground units.”
According to Mignoni, every Marine in the Squadron has the opportunity to learn more about the MAGTF, making them prepared for the fight.